Layola’s Diner Enterprise, Nevada Monday, May 11, 2020 – 8:21 a.m. Atmospheric Music: 'Walkin' After Midnight' by Patsy Cline He watched, he learned, he listened. He had time. He had...all the time in the world, as a famous American song said. People came and people left. People talked, fought, planned… And no one seemed to care about the ordinary guy with blonde hair sitting amidst the chaos drinking his coffee. The advantage of having time was you played the long game. Then again, he needed this advantage. He played this game against everyone. But time was on his side. He had to smile again as he realized that was a song title too. * * * In this part of the Nevada desert, Layola’s could be considered a roadside attraction in its own right; the quaint diner harkened back to the 1950s rock era with its stainless steel paneling, porcelain enamel, glass blocks, and Formica countertops. There was even a vintage jukebox against the far wall belting out the golden hits of a bygone era. The place was quintessentially American, which made it the perfect draw for tourists who were traveling to and from the Las Vegas strip. And on this particular morning, the place was packed for the breakfast rush. Among the crowds, Christian Douglas sat stiffly in a corner booth, head bent at a forty-five degree angle and his hands cupped firmly around the cheap glassware of the coffee mug. His eyes were red and puffy and his head pounded in time with the Patsy Cline tune issuing from the jukebox. ‘Walking after midnight?’ He scoffed. If he could only remember what had happened after midnight last night. The entire weekend had been a blur. On Friday morning, Christian and a few friends had traveled up from USC’s main campus in Los Angeles to spend their last weekend of freedom in Las Vegas. The plan was to drink, have fun, and hopefully get filthy rich before the rest of their lives began. Come Monday morning, the three of them were set to board a plane for Germany to spend the summer working at some prestigious auditor company on an internship program. As usual, the weekend had flown by, and now that Monday morning had finally arrived, Christian was having a tough time connecting all the dots. All he knew was that he must have gone on one hell of a drinking binge the night before to have such a pounding headache. It didn’t help that his allergies had also decided to return to complicate things further; the sneezing had started as soon as he had crawled out of bed. No matter. The coffee would break through the fog of his hangover, and once they were on the plane, things would look up. Now, if only Dan and Sean would hurry up and get here so they could get this show on the road. They were supposed to meet him here at 8am for breakfast before catching an Uber to the airport. As if on cue, he reached into his pocket and retrieved his phone to double-check their flight to Frankfurt. “Germany?” the voice came from the blonde man who had sidled up to the table unnoticed through the crowds. Christian flinched slightly and turned to look up at the stranger. He was hesitant to engage, but he figured if he had to wait for his friends, he might as well make small talk. “Yeah, for a few months,” he said evenly, his eyes narrowing with curiosity. The man looked awfully familiar. “Ever been there?” The blonde man stared at him for a moment. “I think I was in Ramstein. I didn’t see much of the country, though. I heard it has bad weather.” He shrugged and flashed a pleasant smile. “Ramstein?” Christian reclined back, his brow furrowed in thought. He had done a fair amount of research into the area in preparation for the trip. There was a U.S. Air Force Base in Ramstein that had piqued his interest. “You served?” “Sort of,” he laughed. The man parted his lips as if he had something more to add, but movement over Christian’s shoulder drew his attention. He nodded and gestured casually in that direction. “I guess those are for you?” Pursing his lips, Christian craned his neck to follow the stranger’s gaze to the door. Dan and Sean were ambling lazily into the diner. “About time,” he muttered under his breath with a scoff. This was followed by a short cough and a sneeze. With a frown, he went to wipe his nose on his shirt sleeve, but stopped himself when he remembered his manners in front of his guest. “Excuse me,” he said apologetically and shook his head. “Um, it was nice talking to you...sir…?” When he turned back around, the man was gone. Christian’s eyes quickly swept the room for any sign of the stranger, but he must have already slipped back into the crowd. Had he ever been there at all? With a sigh, he reclined back in his seat and allowed the natural ambiance to wash over him. His friends greeted him a short time later, and soon enough, they were on their way. Aside from the late start, the rest of the trip went smoothly. The three boys arrived in Frankfurt about 18 hours after leaving the diner. The airport was one of the biggest in Europe, handling about 200,000 passengers a day and flying them to over 120 destinations. After a short transition period, they began their internship in the auditors firm, which rotated personnel among its 60 offices in 25 countries. Everything seemed perfect...except Christian’s allergies seemed to get worse. It reached the point where he could no longer pass it off as seasonal hay fever. A terrible cough had developed, his lungs rattled with every breath he took, and he was delirious with fever. A few days later, he was found dead in his apartment with a yellowish hue to his skin and deep, dark circles under his eyes. Dan and Sean were next to succumb to the illness a week later. At first, the local authorities had tried to contain the potential threat by passing it off as just another severe flu strain, but it began to spread far more aggressively than they ever anticipated. Reports began to come in from over a dozen cities across Europe of a strange virus with deadly complications nicknamed ‘The Black Doctor.’ When the boys had first started out on their journey, they never imagined that they would be the beginning of something far bigger than themselves... ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ Welcome to The Reckoning! This is an action thriller/mystery game set in contemporary times and a sequel to The Crossing; it will take inspiration from the likes of Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, Deception Point) and the Bourne series. Set in the year 2020, three years after the events of The Crossing, the action will span across the globe as the virus, known as Monarch or The Black Doctor, begins to spread and make its mark upon society. As the concern of a global pandemic continues to grow and governments scramble to contain the threat, an even greater evil is about to reveal itself, and along with it, a mystery that is sure to test the very fabric of time itself. ____________________________________________ A History of The Crossing The phenomenon began in 2004 as an experiment to discover a pollution-free, no-cost energy source. A conspiracy theory to most, but the dream became a reality through the efforts of the late Professor Arthur Mulligan and his team of scientists at the Mansfield Institute, a privately funded organization founded on the basic principle of making the world a better place. In early 2019, Mansfield went public with their discovery. They revealed that Professor Mulligan had found a way to manipulate Earth’s space/time axis to generate unlimited energy. They achieved this ability by creating two experimental reactors, one in the Mali desert, and the other in an undisclosed location, to regulate the process. These reactors depended on a highly kinetic isotope to function, which a team of scientists developed specifically for this project using a rare base isotope found only on a very few places on earth. While the idea was very controversial, Mansfield nevertheless found success. But success did not come without adverse side effects. Trace amounts of the specialized isotope have been seeping into the local ecosystems for decades, contaminating the water supply, fish, air, and animals. Eventually, it found its way into the humans living in the affected areas through farming and other means of cultivation. By consuming the food tainted by the isotope, their lives would be forever changed...particularly when the reactors came online. With the reactors running non-stop (and without a means to shut them down safely), the isotopes began to resonate with each other...and the effects were quite extraordinary. Normal people began to develop superhuman powers related to the space/time spectrum, including time travel, foresight, the ability to manipulate objects within their immediate space, etc. The possibilities were endless. The Gifted – as they were soon labeled – gained their powers in what has become known as The Crossing. It was a process similar to fusion in which two individuals exposed to the isotope must ‘cross paths’ to activate their powers. In some cases, powers can remain dormant for an entire lifetime. The Gifted The U.S. Government was the first entity to have direct contact with The Gifted. As a result, they were also the first to assert control over the situation. After a failed attempt to silence these superhumans through deadly force, which resulted in many casualties, they realized the error of their ways and switched to a more favorable solution – working together. Congress passed a bill highlighting the “Roland Initiative,” named after the fallen U.S. President who died tragically in a helicopter crash while handling the initial crisis. It was a mandate outlining the formation of a new government agency designed to conduct specialized research, track down, and integrate The Gifted into the U.S. intelligence network. The goal was to build mutual relations between The Gifted and U.S. officials on the quest for the common good. The agency became known as Temporal Anomaly Research and Containment, or TARC. Due to the nature of The Gifted themselves, this information remains classified. Not even the American public knows of their existence. As of right now, the U.S. is the only country actively recruiting The Gifted to work under their wing. The rest of the world is either skeptical of the concept of superpowers, or are using the opportunity to advocate extremism, such as hatred and terroristic threats. ____________________________________________ The Characters Character options are pretty limitless, but they must make sense within the context of the story. For example, you could be a world health official, scientist, U.S. Government official, law enforcement or government agent (TARC, Europol, FBI, CIA), or even a tourist caught up in the chaos. If you would like to discuss character ideas, please feel free to send me a PM or simply submit a Character Sheet. *NOTE: I will not be accepting any Gifted CSes from the start unless your character is returning from The Crossing and their powers have already materialized. Powers will develop over the course of the game, but are not guaranteed. It’s the luck of the draw. ____________________________________________ Character Sheet Name: Age: Appearance: Nationality: Occupation: Equipment: Biography: ____________________________________________ The Rules All Character Sheets must be sent to the GM for approval GM word is law No Godmoding, including metagaming or powerplaying All posts must follow the TOS Please let the GM know if you plan to be gone for an extended period of time. If a player fails to respond to updates, I reserve the right to take over their character to move the plot along I will update the game once a week, unless otherwise noted Have fun! ____________________________________________ A special shoutout to my co-GM, DarkLordoftheFins, who will be joining us on this journey! He has been an invaluable source of knowledge in putting this game together! Thank you for all of your help! Also, I would like to thank LordTroepfchen for creating this universe and allowing me to play in his sandbox! This wouldn’t have been possible without him!